December 18, 2013 | , | 3.5

Scalpel, Sorrow and Skin

Scalpel: Sorrow and Skin

In the mood for triggered, machine-gun double bass? How about some bruising and technical guitar work? Guttural vocals that ooze expelled bile? Excellent. Then Scalpel’s debut album, Sorrow and Skin may be exactly what your fetid corpse of a doctor prescribed. Think overtly technical death metal combined with the rabid and burly feeling of early Suffocation and you’ve got an idea of what you can expect on these ten tracks.

Truth be told, this isn’t an easy album to sit through more than once in a sitting. The manic drums fire almost non-stop for the first three tracks and ever shifting chords fly through the air like blood splatter from a sledge hammer blow. Vocally the band does it’s best to keep from becoming monotonous with layered vocals that combine indecipherable, guttural growls with higher end screams. The overall effect makes for an album that is dense and demands a great deal of your attention.

“Ripe” gives you a solid idea of what to expect from the rest of the album within the first 30 seconds as insanely fast double bass leads the way for the technical guitar work and barking vocals. Sickening leads fill the air as tempos shift violently in every attempt to violently separate your head from the rest of your husk. “Gutmulch” is about as old school death metal as you can get while still hurling off-kilter riffs and the kitchen sink into the blender. It’s a brain-scramble and frenzied blast and bludgeon sort of song. “The Black Juices” has flurries of recent Hate Eternal and some Morbid Angel amongst the churning mass of riffs and barbaric drumming.

Scalpel slow things down to a relative crawl with the awesome “Skullscraper.” This song is highly charged with technical flurries and a blur of blasting ferocity that surges and recedes with rapid succession. The song is quite varied and not the smoothest to listening experience, but if you’re tired of looking at your own face, this one will surely strip the flesh from the bone as vehemently as possible. “Mincemaster” follows suit with more technical brutality than you can shake a shattered femur at.

All in all, Sorrow and Skin is an impressive debut in terms of the band’s playing abilities, as well as the level of brutality presented here. But those two things alone do not make a great album. Scalpel have possibly shown all their cards here. Now it’s time to learn from their Sevared Records debut and hone those skills and songwriting in an effort to make a more cohesive and fluid album. Still, this shit is pretty damn good.